Boosted carbon emissions from Amazon deforestation

Scott R. Loarie, Gregory P. Asner, Christopher B. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Standing bipmass is a major, often poorly quantified determinate of carbon losses from land clearing. We analyzed maps from the 2001-2007 PRODES deforestation time series with recent regional predeforestation aboveground biomass estimates to calculate carbon emission trends for the Brazilian Amazon basin. Although the annual rate of deforestation has not changed " significantly since the 1990s (ANOVA, p = 0.3), the aboveground biomass lost per unit of forest cleared increased from 2001 to 2007 (183 to 201 Mg C ha -1; slope of regression significant: p < 0.01). Remaining unprotected forests harbor significantly higher aboveground biomass still, averaging 231 Mg C ha-1. This difference is large enough that, even if the annual area deforested remains unchanged, future clearing will increase regional emissions by ∼0.04 Pg C yr-1 - a ~25% increase over 2001-2007 annual carbon emissions. These results suggest increased climate risk from future deforestation, but highlight opportunities through reductions in deforestation and forest degradation.(REDD)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL14810
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 28 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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